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« Monitoring Assignment Disparity in Attorney Flextime Arrangements | Main | Some Boies Schiller Associates May Have Hit the Jackpot »

Starting Law Firm Associate Salaries Rising Towards $200,000

At the end of 2007, law.com reported that the Washington, D.C. firm of Williams & Connolly is raising pay for starting associates to $180,000 a year. The question is: how soon will a big firm announce a starting salary of $200,000?

Given that Williams & Connolly is a small firm, with a tight litigation focus and a reputation for being one of the most selective firms in the country when it comes to hiring,it seems unlikely that large law firms will follow its lead immediately. But Williams & Connolly has proven to be a bellwether in the past, and it takes only one large firm to pull the trigger before the others quickly fall into line.

This brings us back to a point we've raised numerous times in the past, which is that with major law firms always moving in "lockstep" in terms of compensation, firms need to find creative ways to distinguish themselves from competitors in areas other than compensation when recruiting attorneys.

One area in which firms can easily set themselves apart from the pack is through the quality of their work life balance programs. Benefits such as flextime arrangements, telecommuting, sabbaticals, and job sharing are highly valued by associates and firms that offer them will find that they are an excellent selling point.

Our new, CLE-accredited seminar on attorney retention strategies offers law firms an overview of work life balance programs that have helped attract and retain top legal talent.

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